A popular theme in many manga (mangi?) and anime flicks is the retconning of World World II. Games, manga and anime such as Valkyria Chronicles, Operation Darkness, and Pumpkin Scissors all take the setting, esthetic and look of 1940’s Europe and each add their own twist, whether that be mechs, steampunk technology, or field medics in fetish outfits.
A casual glance at the cart for UN Squadron elicits virtually no excitement at all. It appears to be a run-of-the- mill, throw away cart- a game that seems to belong along beside Bill Elliot Nascar and Bulls Vs. Lakers in a thrift store bargain bin.
Save for one, very important part of the label… the little red rectangle that says “Capcom”. Capcom, fresh off dominating the third party library of the Nintendo Entertainment System, began it’s reign of 16 bit effulgence primarily with arcade ports, such as Final Fight and UN Squadron.
However, where as the SNES port of Final Fight is ultimately remembered as a famously co-op free misstep, UN Squadron is barely remembered at all.
Beneath the generic label and uninspired name, lies what Super Famicom players knew as Area88; a challenging, colorful 16-bit actioner that separates itself from the formulaic design of the standard spaceship shmup in a couple of ingenious ways. Having more in common with Gradius than After Burner, UN Squadron strayed further from both by adding non linear stages, upgradable and selectable weapons and aircrafts, and a most revolutionary of all, a health bar.